Army balance in competitions

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timmy1
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by timmy1 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:06 pm

If Martin's analysis of historical battles is correct I can think of a simplistic solution to the problem. Not saying it is any good but it is simple. Foot battle groups tend to have more bases than mounted and for that matter figures. For UK competitions set a rule that there must be more battle groups of foot battle troops than there are mounted. In the TYW example above the Dragoons are Light troops so do not count as Foot. The army would have to have one less BG of mounted or one of the Dragoons would have to become battle troops. You could even include Dragoons and Command Shot in the calculation as mounted if you wanted but that gets complex.

(I still think 900 points is a better solution.)

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:09 pm

timmy1 wrote:Nik

Also have the issues with some eastern European armies (Alisdair usually being the culprit)

Is this a common or developing thing as is being suggested for the TYW period? Is it leading to people choosing armies that are not the "normal" type for an eastern European theme? The latter (in its western context) is the issue being highlighted I think.

We need to avoid personalising this to Alasdair who is an excellent player who can use armies in ways that us ordinary players cannot - and I'm sure that isn't your intent, but I'd like to make the point anyway.
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:11 pm

timmy1 wrote: (I still think 900 points is a better solution.)

I think 900 points as a baseline would be a good idea anyway even if possible issues were not being raised :D
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by timmy1 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:12 pm

Nik

Agree. I would not in any way intend this to become personal against Alisdair. I can think of no-one who is nicer when he is beating your favourite army 22-3...

Not seen enough Eastern Theme comps to know if a trend.

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:19 pm

timmy1 wrote:
Not seen enough Eastern Theme comps to know if a trend.

My guess is that what we have is not so much a trend as yet but a concern that we are about to embark on one - I say this based on a certain amount of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" comments from people about their army choice at Warfare.

One thing has, IMO, been abundantly clear about the success that FoG:R has had to date, and that is that people have felt it was a good historical representation (as well as an enjoyable game, etc.) and that they would not like to see that disappear (we made changes to the Swedes to improve the historical representation because it is seen as important).
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by marshalney2000 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:42 pm

Interesting debate and I find myself on the side of the poor foot armies.
It may only be fiddling (or is that piddling) while Rome burns but I would like to see mounted troops being forced to bounce off if they do not disrupt foot opponents by the joint action phase ( as per FOGAM ). Generally I find the mounted are better at impact than melee and if forced to break off would then find themselves subject to further bounds of shooting etc. The way the rules are at present mounted would be insane to break contact with foot particularly heavy armoured horse.
By the way also like 900 points unless it can be used by the mounted armies to buy more heavy artillery. You see I can see into Alasdair's mind.
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by Sarmaticus » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:09 pm

timmy1 wrote:Nik

Also have the issues with some eastern European armies (Alisdair usually being the culprit)
I'm not a competition player, so this is idle curiosity but what is the problem with eastern european armies?

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by Simpleton » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:41 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
Simpleton wrote:
So its not really the game at fault, but the army list that has too low a minimum for the foot regiments.


* FWIW even allowing for this I think, on reflection, that the FoG lists as a whole (well, AM and R; I know nothing of N) were written with too low a minimum points requirement. IIRC it is about 200 points of troops (excluding generals) and that limit should have been set higher. Hindsight is wonderful :shock:
Maybe when version 2.0 of the army lists come out, some thought can be given to this? I used to play with TTG's Tercio game and in their lists they gave a Proportion % of points that could be spent on mounted troops. Of course the army previously given in the example would be shot to pieces by my later Germans with superior shot, Carabiners with commanded shot and max Dragoons. I would terrain sit and play for the winning draw. Alternatively, ask the tournament organizers to balance things by requiring no more mounted stands than foot stands (not including Dragoons or arty).

List lawyers who look for perfect lists to me are too focussed on winning vs. playing. I run tournaments so 16-20 guys can play each other. I can only have 1-2 winners, but I can help everyone have a good time. IMHO that is the goal.

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by petedalby » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:46 am

A very thought provoking post Martin - well done.

FWIW I think the answer lies in both AP and table sizes.

Farnborough Shot was a 25mm 650 point event on 6 x 4 tables and was dominated by foot because of the table size and movement rates. This could easily be replicated in 15mm by reducing the table size to 5 x 3 for example.

Alternatively stick with 6 x 4 and up the AP as suggested.

I agree that mounted are too manoeuvrable and have previously suggested some alternatives.

I will be at MK for the last round of the Southern League but then I'm voting with my feet - it's back to A&M for me, at least for 2014.
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by Sarmaticus » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:25 am

Cavalry was the tactically dominant arm in most of Europe in the period say 1550 to at least 1650. Infantry played a major role in the biggest battles because quantity has a quality of its own. There was a limit to the skilled manpower and to the logistical support for cavalry that applied much less stringently to infantry.

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:39 am

Simpleton wrote: Maybe when version 2.0 of the army lists come out, some thought can be given to this?

I would say the chances of v2 lists for FoG:R are virtually nil. If you think they need higher minimums or similar just go ahead an apply them in your games IMO - the lists are at best only guidelines and a tool to create games, we should not feel constrained by them.
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by madaxeman » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:39 am

Let's have a chat at MK in a few weeks then. It's easy enough to change the points or table size for, say, The Challenge if we wanted to
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:32 pm

madaxeman wrote:Let's have a chat at MK in a few weeks then. It's easy enough to change the points or table size for, say, The Challenge if we wanted to
As I can't make MK :( can I just chip in with a vote for 900 points - as if you couldn't guess :D
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:50 pm

Pondering a bit more about the basic issue raised, whilst trying to keep within what I perceive as being reasonably historically based within a solution I wondered about the following points.

1. One of the points made about the "Alasdair style" armies is that as well as many mounted troops and minimal foot, they include BGs of artillery, medium or heavy (if available).

2. Mounted heavy armies are most certainly historical and you don't have to look far to find them. Even when staying within the bounds of what we might call "proper battles" which involve at least a few thousand each side we have armies in the ECW, TYW and points east which are mainly, or even entirely, mounted troops.

3. However, heavily mounted armies tend to be faster moving for strategic reasons and so don't carry much or heavy artillery with them - again there are many cases where a mounted force surprised a town/city but because they had no heavy artillery could not take it even though there were few defenders (Swedes towards the end of the TYW are a good example here).

4. Artillery trains are almost always guarded by infantry whether on the march or in the field and armies would sometimes leave them behind if forced to march rapidly.

5. There are cases of lighter artillery accompanying mainly mounted forces on rapid marches.



So, and I'm sure you've guessed where this is going, perhaps one thing that could be done is link the use of artillery with a meaningful number of infantry BGs? A couple of lists sort of do this anyway when they have mainly mounted options, but there are lots that don't.

We could say that for each BG of medium or heavy artillery (or perhaps for every 2 bases of these) the army must include say 2 BGs (or a number deemed suitable) of infantry that are at least 6 bases strong and composed of HF and/or MF or Warriors - GBG count as 2 BGs for this purpose of course.

I can only off hand think of Qing as an army where this might break the historicality - they could be made an exception or as a single case ignored for the greater good.

Thoughts?
Nik Gaukroger

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by madaxeman » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:19 pm

That too makes a lot of sense at first glance.

Very few FoG lists have any "conditional upon X" restrictions in them, which is a bit unusual in itself. However worth being careful, as the only lists that really do have them are the Poles and Ottomans, for both of which the "X if Y" restrictions almost totally cripple them... At least at 800AP!
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by donm2 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:48 pm

Guys,

I am not convinced that limiting artillery is going to solve the problem. On Saturday my two batteries of medium artillery couldn't hit a barn door and it didn't stop me ending up on 48 points and in first place. I would also point out that my infantry was involved in both games and it was the fire from my two infantry units that broke Martin's impact foot.

In both games it was my ability to gang up against a much smaller number of mounted and break them, that was the decisive factor.

Strangely in the game against Alasdair I was leading with my infantry units and lost one to very accurate artillery fire and the other to a straight up fight with heavily armoured horse, so I am not sure why people believe them to be the best troops.

I think larger point armies will help with the problem, but unless you force a mix of foot and mounted battle groups, you may just see more mounted.

One point that may have been missed was the list dates, I only had one army to chose from within those dates. MK is even more restrictive.

Don

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by timmy1 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:19 pm

Expanding upon Nik's idea, what if the restriction was

There must be more foot BG than mounted BG
There must be at least 6 bases of foot battle troops per Medium or Heavy artillery base
There must be more foot battle troop bases than there are mounted bases?

I think that might limit things a little.

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by alasdair2204 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:32 pm

Hi

although I am obviously biased I struggle with this overreaction to one tournament, personally I think people can find solutions to mounted armies, Ben went through several competitions beating my mounted armies and I had to rethink what I did. All mounted armies did exist in many places. I still think Pike and Shot are the best all round troops I think the problem is that they are not always properly supported. If this time next year mounted armies have won all competitions fine but I doubt it. Re the manoeuvre some of us greatly enjoy this element of the game and for this reason don't play the 25mm because this is greatly reduced, it feels like it could be line them up shoot and see what happens.

just my thoughts

Alasdair

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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:17 pm

donm2 wrote:
I am not convinced that limiting artillery is going to solve the problem.

That isn't what I was suggesting.

I was suggesting linking the heavier forms of artillery to reasonable numbers of foot BGs to better reflect history as a way of mitigating the possible issue with the set up of mounted heavy armies. That is a significant difference from just limiting artillery.
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Re: Army balance in competitions

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:40 pm

timmy1 wrote:Expanding upon Nik's idea, what if the restriction was

There must be more foot BG than mounted BG
There must be at least 6 bases of foot battle troops per Medium or Heavy artillery base
There must be more foot battle troop bases than there are mounted bases?

I think that might limit things a little.

I really really don't like most of these for a number of reasons.

My position is that cavalry heavy armies, or indeed wholly mounted armies are a perfectly legitimate form of army from a wide geographical area (including western Europe in the TYW, etc.) that should be represented in FoG:R. However, they should be one choice and not the one you "must" take if you are going to do well - and there is a growing perception that this is not the case and that they are distorting army choices. (For Alasdair - I do not think this is a reaction to a single tournament but something that has been bubbling away for a while now and is just now coming to a head) It also seems to me that the form these armies are taking are significantly divergent from the historical prototypes due to incentives within the rules as they stand, and the lack of limitation within the army lists which is probably too permissive (not that we want to be overly prescriptive). I do not think it would be a good thing if a player could not have the choice to be Lord Wilmot at Roundway Down, or similar cases.

Also I don't think tools as blunt as the above are a good idea and just remove legitimate choice - something more nuanced and more bedded in history is better IMO.

I think a package of a number of changes that together shift the incentives and balance can achieve what is (probably) needed.

900 points on a 6x4 table would be one, and what I suggest above relating to artillery could be another.

I suspect that a third would be dropping the 3rd move. I have been having a think about this as well and would note that it is there to allow such manoeuvres as the redeployment of the Eastern Association horse at Marston Moor or the French right wing at Rocroi, however, in FoG:AM it was deemed that the same thing done by the Carthaginian cavalry at Cannae (IIRC a similar sized battlefield) did not need anything more than a double move (or left to a scenario specific rule on the basis that you can't cover everything and keep a rule set reasonably playable). Even without a 3rd move mounted (and lights) would have a high degree of manoeuvrability compared to foot because of their longer moves and the incredibly useful turn and move possibility. However, I would say this is an area I need to think more on and dig a bit in battle accounts.
Nik Gaukroger

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